Well, folks, that was less than ideal. The game had about the expected outcome: A Los Angeles Kings loss with the St. Louis Blues having some extra rest. It was pretty much a schedule loss from the beginning—end of a long road trip, about to go home, and at the end of a heavy schedule without consecutive off-days. (Which they're getting over the next two days)
The first period was mostly great, with the Kings doubling up the Blues in shots on goal 12-6. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t quite beat Jake Allen (whom I have aboslutely nothing nice to say about—his numbers are inflated thanks to a good defense team; do not @ me with your Jonathan Quick hot takes, I already know) or muster any significant zone time to create a heavy attack or scoring chances. They registered two high danger chances while ceding five to the Blues. The end of the first period wasn’t so great with Kurtis MacDermid taking a penalty and then Derek Forbort going off for delay of game with six seconds left in the frame.
The second was forgettable in a burn-the-tape kind of a way. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overreaction, but it was easily their worst of this young season. There was about 1:54 of penalty to kill and it was a very hairy kill, but still successful. Shortly thereafter, Forbort turned the puck over to Vladimir Tarasenko who beat Quick off the rush with a wicked wrist shot. Do not give that child the puck or you’re going to have a bad time. (And this is your yearly reminder that the Kings could’ve had Tarasenko instead of Forbort. Ahem. Moving on.)
The Blues followed that up with a very long shift in the Kings’ offensive zone. The guys on the ice just couldn’t quite manage to get the puck out and wave after wave of attack just wore them down to the point where Quick gave up a (small) rebound a long shot but no one in white was fast enough to recognize the danger and clear. Enter: Jaden Schwartz on the doorstep and Kings were down by two.
In years prior, maybe that would’ve been the final nail in the coffin but this team, much like the baseball guys, doesn’t quit. Tanner Pearson finally got the monkey off his back and scored off a turnover in the neutral zone. He channeled his inner Jeff Carter with the can-opener and fooled Allen into opening up the 5-hole.
And then a minute later, the Blues got it right back. Now, this is going to piss off several Kings fans and Jim Fox seemed to take a bit more of a neutral approach. The Blues had cycled the puck around the offensive zone and there was incidental contact with the goaltender leading to a goal against. According to the broadcast, the Situation Room in Toronto felt like it was “incidental” and not “intentional,” therefore they ruled it a good goal.
For the record, here’s what rule 69.1 states (emphasis mine):
Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player's position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper's ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgement of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.
For purpose of this rule "contact", whether incidental or otherwise, shall mean any contact that is made between or among a goalkeeper and attacking player(s), whether by means of a stick or any part of the body.
Again, Toronto felt that because Quick was outside of the crease and the contact was incidental, it should be a good goal. It’s rather borderline and since the NHL is interested in increasing scoring, it makes sense that they’d award this a good goal.
And let’s face it, if the skate were on the other foot, fans would be screaming that it’s a good goal for the Kings. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
LA did score their one and only power play goal to get back within one shortly after St. Louis went back ahead by two. Dustin Brown ended up getting credit on the Drew Doughty snapshot.
The Kings had a late chance to tie it up on the power play but mostly ran into legs and sticks. Their best shot saw Allen make a desperation save.
Doughty got a great pass on his tape but waited about one and a half seconds too long before shooting giving the Blues netminder just enough time to make a desperate push across. If Doughty just shoots the puck right away, there’s a better chance he beats Allen. Correction: In attempting to settle it, Doughty wasn’t able to one-time the puck giving Allen enough time to make a desperate lunge across. That one to one and a half seconds was the difference on the power play.
In any case, the Kings couldn’t get the last goal. While the visitors came out flying to start the third, they still couldn’t find the back of the net and eventually the home team weathered the early pressure to tilt the ice back in their favor.
The good: The no-quit attitude. To the very end, they kept fighting for that equalizer. Also, a perfect penalty kill.
The bad: That second period.
The ugly: The amount of chances they gave up (34 STL to 18 LAK per hockeystats.ca). Woof.
Next up, the Kings will face the young talented Toronto Maple Leafs. Again. Aside from quick trips to Anaheim, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, and two-game east coast swing at the very end of the month, November is a very home heavy month. They usually have at least one big road trip before December, but the schedule is kind of odd this season.